MINISTER for Children Frances Fitzgerald has described the death of a woman in a taxi hours after she had an abortion as “traumatic and dreadful”.
The 32-year-old foreign national was resident in Ireland and had travelled to England in January 2012 – when she was 20 weeks pregnant – for the termination at a Marie Stopes clinic in west London.
An investigation is currently being carried out by the London Metropolitan Police, with an inquest pending.
Fitzgerald stated that the Government does not possess details of the case and are not aware of the woman’s medical health, although it is believed that she had a non-life threatening condition which increased the risk of miscarriage.
“Clearly it’s a tragic story and a tragic outcome for that young woman,” said the Minister. “It’s very important that we hear the outcome of that investigation and understand the factors that led to this outcome”.
She then continued to remind Irish women who seek abortions in Britain that they are eligible for aftercare on their return.
“We are in a situation where we had 6,500 women travelling to England. That’s now reduced to 4,500,” Fitzgerald said. “And the obstetrics services and gynaecological services are available to these women.”
Fitzgerald also stated that this case has “raised issues being dealt with in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill” which is still in the consultation phase.
The Pro Life Campaign have commented on the case and said that “major questions about the safety of abortion in certain clinics” have been raised, and that “it is disturbing the way some people are trying to use this tragic story to continue the push for abortion in Ireland.
“It is obvious the focus should be on what happened in the Marie Stopes clinic leading to her death.
The woman’s husband spoke to The Irish Times and said that his wife had remained at the clinic for observation, and was taking a taxi to her cousin’s house outside London when she suffered from severe internal bleeding.
Police authorities had informed him that his wife had been taken to a hospital in Slough and that she died of cardiac arrest.
He explained his frustration with the Irish authorities when his wife was seeking an abortion, “we were left on our own to deal with it. We didn’t get any help at all.”
He still lives in Ireland but said, “I think if this was an Irish or a British woman, we would know what happened to her. But I am still waiting for answers.”